Author’s name: RJ Conte
Title of book and/or series: Artificial Love
Brief summary of the story: Deep in the heart of the wild west, rebel marauders are drawing out a bloody civil war that no side can win. Many ranchers, including Lisbeth’s father, die trying to save their farms, leaving their women to fight to keep their land and stay alive.
When Lisbeth and her mousy younger sister Ruth come face to face with the uncouth land pirates who seize their farm as a scouting base, they only have one plan to protect their virtue: pretend to be commonplace, advanced domestic robots. Suppressing their fears, enslaved to the ruffians, the two young women are determined to convince the men they’re not human.
Their plan hits a snag when they meet Dane: a gorgeous prisoner-of-war who has a secret belief that robots can become sentient and develop emotions on their own… and he’s determined to use Lisbeth as proof.
Can the sisters keep up their ruse and survive? For fans of The Twilight Zone meets Gone with the Wind and Magnificent Seven
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story: Think Gone with the Wind or Magnificent Seven – 1800s with cowboys, wagons, ranches, and extremely sophisticated robot servants! In other words, the genre is cattlepunk.
If we were to visit Lisbeth’s country as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there? It’s not safe due to roving marauders and the ongoing Civil War. Not a good time to visit. But if you’re in a safe area, I’d recommend you have a chef robot cook you up a big heaping plate of Johnny cakes and grits, sit on the veranda watching the sunset over the tumbleweeds, and go for a horse ride over the mountain pass.
What dangers should we avoid? The land pirates. These ruffians will shoot you on sight or at least take your farm and rope you into servitude… or worse!
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common? Pistols and rifles abound.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel? Definitely horses and wagons.
Is there any advanced or unusual technology? Yes, the artificial intelligence! Robot servants and farmhounds abound, making the ranchers’ lives easier. In the wealthy capital, robots may also exist as nannies, companions, and surrogate children. If you give them an expensive “emotion pack,” they become much more like human beings and act far more sentient.
Is there a particular religion practiced? Lisbeth and her little sister Ruth are Christians.
What is the political or government structure? Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she? The snobby heads of state in the capital were out of touch with the rest of the way their poorer class lived, and when a rebellious uprising occurred, they were too fat and lazy to defend themselves well. The rebel uprising took over, and now half the country is in a never-ending, bloody civil war. Dark times.
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book? Fearing sexual abuse, and how far two women will go to protect themselves. Rights for robots and whether emotional AI should be treated like humans. Romantic relationships between AI and humans, etc.
RJ Conte has kissed only one boy in her entire life – and she married him – inspiring her to write about sweet or powerful love stories ever since. She writes issue-driven fiction that explores human nature and the depths of the soul while pointing readers to their Creator.
She writes a blog on parenting, publishing, painting, and perorating at http://blonderj.wordpress.com/
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